The CA Recall Follies – What you can do.

No matter how many signatures a petition to recall Ron DeSantis collects, the Florida governor can breathe easy – his state doesn’t allow for recalls. In fact, only 20 states have such mechanisms, and of those, eight require a serious act of malfeasance or a violation of their oath of office. CA is one that doesn’t, which makes it the easiest pathway for the GOP, whose policies and values are completely at odds with most California voters, to “rig the system and create a low turnout election where they have a better chance” to grab the governor’s office through the weird mathematics of a “simultaneous recall election.”

Action #1 – Treat this recall election as a civic emergency that it is!

  • Share this toolkit with all parts of your social media. (More videos at bottom of this post)
  • Send it to anyone who asks your opinion on the recall!
  • Use this app to send a message to your contacts. Outreachcircle.com – Code SEF710
  • Don’t assume that everyone understands the gravity of this issue!

The toolkit contains graphics and sample texts that you can add to your postings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in both English and Spanish.

  • Aug. 30 is the LAST day to register for a mail ballot for the Sept. 14 election.
  • You can still register and vote on Sept. 14th at an in-person location.
  • Remind anyone with a criminal history who’s not currently serving a felony sentence in county, state, or federal prison, that their voting rights have been restored. Information here.

Scan through the “Official Voter Information Guide.” GOP candidates are running on platforms that include their normal mix: “starving” government, removing environmental protections, destroying public schools, rolling back gun safety laws,”freedom” from public health requirements, removing sanctuary protections, inserting religion into state business, prioritizing forced-birth policies, and the promoting antiquated solutions regarding wildfires and water issues. A debate among three of them revealed contempt for women, lack of support for a minimum wage, and at least one multimillionaire candidate who, like Trump, has to be sued to pay his bills.

If any of these unqualified candidates replaces Newsom through January 2, 2023, our state, whose economy ranks as the fifth largest in the world, will suffer a year of chaos and wasted time during a time of massive global warming and pandemic issues. A GOP governor could issue executive orders to rollback environmental protections, criminal justice reform and the social safety net, and reshape the 2022-23 budget with line item vetoes. Hundreds of bills may be vetoed by an incoming governor. And though he/she wouldn’t get any major bills passed because of a Democratic supermajority in the state legislature, they can make toxic appointments to boards, commissions and the courts, state constitutional offices and U.S. Senate seats, which would change the current balance of power in the United States Senate.

Action #2 – How should I fill in the second question?

  • Leave it blank. (Why? One explanation in favor here. One explanation against here.)
  • Don’t write in Newsom’s name as a “replacement” governor if he’s recalled. It won’t be counted. According to Elec. Code, § 11381(c)), “A person whose recall is being sought cannot be a candidate to succeed themselves at a recall election.
  • If you want to vote for somebody, choose one of the nine Democrats, after reading their candidate statements carefully.
  • Don’t throw away your vote on a “joke” candidate. If enough people do that, the joke will be on us.

Action #3 – Tell our Secretary of State that CA’s recall election code is unconstitutional.

Sample script: I’m writing because I’m outraged at the GOP’s abuse of our recall election laws in order to bypass ordinary elections. Not only will taxpayers will be funding this election with $215 million dollars which assuredly have a better use, it will also most likely be found unconstitutional, in not just one, but two ways.

I agree with UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and UC Berkeley law professor Aaron Edlin, whose recent NYTimes article states that our simultaneous recall system disenfranchises us, the voters.

The most basic principles of democracy are that the candidate who gets the most votes is elected and that every voter gets an equal say in an election’s outcome. The California system for voting in a recall election violates these principles and should be declared unconstitutional…

…Imagine that 10 million people vote in the recall election and 5,000,001 vote to remove Mr. Newsom, while 4,999,999 vote to keep him in office. He will then be removed and the new governor will be whichever candidate gets the most votes on the second question. In a recent poll, the talk show host Larry Elder was leading with 18 percent among the nearly 50 candidates on the ballot. With 10 million people voting, Mr. Elder would receive the votes of 1.8 million people. Mr. Newsom would have the support of almost three times as many voters, but Mr. Elder would become the governor.

That scenario is not a wild hypothetical. Based on virtually every opinion poll, Mr. Newsom seems likely to have more votes to keep him in office than any other candidate will receive to replace him. But he may well lose the first question on the recall, effectively disenfranchising his supporters on the second question.

This is not just nonsensical and undemocratic. It is unconstitutional. It violates a core constitutional principle that has been followed for over 60 years: Every voter should have an equal ability to influence the outcome of the election.

complaint has already been filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California arguing that the state’s recall provision violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by allowing sitting governors to be replaced by candidates who have received fewer votes. (This suit was dismissed and the plaintiff is appealing the ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.)

The second issue of constitutionality is that CA law (Elec. Code, § 11381(c)) disenfranchises Governor Newsom in particular. “There’s a right to have access to the ballot to be a candidate. Arguably keeping Newsom from being listed violates his constitutional right.” The lawsuit wants a court order either prohibiting the recall election or adding Newsom’s name to the replacement candidate list. Elections officials have already sent millions of ballots ahead of a state deadline.

I agree with the issues and solutions listed in this lawsuit, and I urge you to carefully consider this direction.

Contact: Dr. Shirley Weber, Secretary of State, at her email address here.

Action #4 – Tell your state legislators that we want recall election reforms.

Recalls are too easy to start in CA. So easy, in fact, every governor since 1960 has faced at least one recall attempt. This one made it to the ballot, with 46 wanna-bes, thanks to an pandemic extension of the signature gathering stage , deep-pocketed GOP donors and well-known promoters, such as Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. The GOP, who pretends to care about fiscal responsibility when it suits them, will be be dinging CA taxpayers to a tune of at least $215 million dollars to run this election, most of which will be incurred on the local level.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Assemblymember/Senator [___] to improve CA’s recall laws to discourage expensive and possibly unconstitutional abuse.

  • First, change our “simultaneous recall” election model to a “Retention recall” format, where a successful recall is treated in the same way as any other vacancy. In CA, this means that the lieutenant governor would succeed to the office, not an outside candidate.
  • Second, require “just cause” for a recall that includes violating the oath of office, official misconduct or malfeasance or similar demonstrable standards. Eight states already do this.
  • Third, repeal Elec. Code, § 11381(c) and allow the sitting candidate to include his/her name in the “2nd” question candidates.
  • Last, raise the percentage of required signatures from 12%, second lowest of all states, to 25%, similar to AZ, AK, CO, NV, NJ, ND, MN, and MI. Louisiana requires 33.3% and Kansas requires 40%.

Contacts:
State Senator Monique Limón (SD-19): 
SAC (916) 651-4019, SB (805) 965-0862, OX (805)988-1940 email
State Assemblymember  Steve Bennett (CA-37): SAC (916) 319-2037, SB (805) 564-1649, VTA (805) 641-3700 email
Not your people?: findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.

Action #5 – Write postcards!

Write postcards with Women’s March Action!

The work continues in California. The 2020 election has brought about a recall effort for Governor Gavin Newsom, his sixth one to date.

Governor Gavin Newsom is working hard to keep our families safe, distribute COVID-19 vaccines, protect families from eviction, and provide billions in direct relief to individuals and struggling small businesses.

Women’s rights and representation are at stake IF Governor Newsom is recalled. 

We are sending postcards to tell voters to vote NO on the recall.

Link here to purchase cards ($5 for 50, you add stamps): https://www.womensmarchaction.com/shop/vote-no

Write postcards with Activate America!

Write postcards for No on Recall to voters in Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. Please spread word! https://www.activateamerica.vote/postcards

Write postcards with Grassroots Democrats

The Trump allies, QAnoners, conspiracy theorists, and anti-vaxxers have banded together to recall California’s Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom. Since 2019, the Governor has been hard at work serving California families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he ensured equitable vaccine distribution, protected families from eviction, and provided billions in direct relief to individuals and struggling small businesses.

This recall is going to cost the state 276 million dollars and should it succeed—an outcome we must all work to prevent—we could lose our majority in the Senate if anything happened to Dianne Feinstein, 88. 

We’re proud to partner with Women’s March Action to write to voters telling them to vote NO on this wasteful recall. You have the option of using postcards created by the Grassroots Democrats HQ and Women’s March Action or using your own. If you’d like to use your own postcards, please write N/A under the address field.

You will need to purchase postage. Here are some helpful links where you can order postcard stamps online:

Postage (USPS) https://tinyurl.com/usps-postcard-stamps
Postage (Amazon) https://tinyurl.com/amazon-postcard-stamps

If you live locally in Los Angeles and would like to pick up postcards locally or you need assistance getting your supplies, please fill out this form and we will get back to you: https://tinyurl.com/GDHQ-Postcard-Pickup-Deliver

Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication. We win elections because of our amazing volunteers! If you have any questions about volunteering, please email our Field and Communications Coordinator, Mana Shooshtari, at mana@grassrootsdems.org.

Action #6 – Share videos!

(Politics Girl’s videos are also available on @IamPoliticsGirl, @breakfastrant, and https://www.facebook.com/IAmPoliticsGirl/)

(https://youtu.be/qpfffCUeI9M)

(https://youtu.be/NuB1fsdcQms)

(https://youtu.be/6b1u-iZ456Y)

(https://www.tiktok.com/@taraalisecox/video/6997918216542604550)

Resources

  • (Politico) Republican rivals attack recall frontrunner Larry Elder in California debate
  • (Findlaw) California Code, Elections Code – ELEC § 11381
  • (ballotpedia) How gubernatorial vacancies are filled
  • (ballotpedia) States with gubernatorial recall provisions
  • (Desertsun) Recalling Gavin Newsom could give Republicans the U.S. Senate
  • (elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov) Gubernatorial Recall Election Costs
  • (sos.ca.gov) California Gubernatorial Recall Election – Frequently Asked Questions
  • (NYTimes) There Is a Problem With California’s Recall. It’s Unconstitutional.
  • (Politico) Federal lawsuit challenges California recall as unconstitutional
  • (capradio) Interview: Legal Scholar Says Newsom Recall Is Unconstitutional
  • (kcrw.com) California’s recall process unconstitutional? Berkeley Law dean says it doesn’t uphold democratic majority rule
  • (newsweek) Lawsuit Argues Recall Process Violates Constitution by Excluding Newsom From Candidate List
  • (calmatters) When a recall succeeds, lieutenant governor should step in
  • (the uprising) A Guide to the Recall of Governor Gavin Newsom

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